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 OneGreatFamily Update - May 28, 2004

In This Issue:
Getting what you Expect from a Online Genealogy Service

Q&A:Getting what you Expect from a Online Genealogy Service
  What should I expect from OneGreatFamily as a Guest or Subscriber?
Special Feature: Avoiding Genealogy Fraud
  How can I identify and avoid fraud while doing genealogy online?
One Great Genealogy Site Award
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Last Week at OneGreatFamily . . .

Site Activity Summary

  • 100,241 new individual merges!
  • 38,820 new individual hints!
  • 34,701 new family merges!
  • 8,711 new family hints!
  • 93 average individual merges per group
  • 24 average individual hints per group
  • 27 average family merges per group
  • 3 average family hints per group

    If you didn't receive a GenMail telling you about new merges in your family tree, your tree wasn't affected by this activity. You may want to add new individuals or information to your family tree to improve the likelihood of matches and merges taking place.

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  •  Q&A: Getting what you Expect from a Online Genealogy Service

    What should I expect from OneGreatFamily as a Guest or Subscriber?

    by Chelsea Beattie - Marketing Manager

    Even with all the benefits an online genealogy service can provide, most researchers are still hesitant to subscribe because it is a decision filled with questions and uncertainty about trust and credibility. Trust is an important concept whenever you provide any information to any commercial entity. Trust is often more difficult to earn for companies that do online business. Some considerations include how your information will be used and the business model of the company receiving your information.

    One of the main ideas behind OneGreatFamily is that we are all researching together, so that we can save time and work by building a foundation of trust. In order to build trust, documentation and credibility is needed. At OneGreatFamily it is not only important to provide you with information, but credible and accurate information. We do this by requiring documentation about how, where, and from whom the genealogical information was obtained.

    Trust is not the only attribute researchers expect from an online genealogy service. Online services must also be easy to use, produce fast results, save time and money, be convenient, and generate constant growth. At OneGreatFamily we make sure our subscribers and guests are getting what they expect from an online genealogy service by offering these benefits and more. We help you to uncover the information you need in the quickest and most economical way. OneGreatFamily is a service that was created to help genealogists get through their "brick walls" and move forward with the help of others from around the world. With OneGreatFamily you are able to see others who are researching your family lines, perform live collaboration with others, match and merge information, and verify and expand your family tree.

    As guests and subscribers you should only expect the best from your online genealogy service. OneGreatFamily continues to make improvements to its online service and to the overall health of the company. OneGreatFamily is one of the few success stories of online subscription services. With a growing subscription base, the company has created a solid foundation on which it will build for years to come. We hope that by using OneGreatFamily you have discovered the real value of genealogy, which is finding out about the people and places which made you who you are!

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     Special Feature: Avoiding Genealogy Fraud

    How can I identify and avoid fraud while doing genealogy online?

    You should be aware of at least three forms of fraud while you research your family tree online. This article will help you avoid falling prey to phony websites, malicious scams, and fraudulent genealogical information.

    Phony Websites

    Greed has motivated some people to "capitalize" on the desire of genealogists who possess the drive and passion to find their ancestors. Genealogy and technology expert Dick Eastman helped expose Elias Abodeely of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as one such scam artist. Through a number of "genealogy websites," most notably GenSeekers, Abodeely allegedly billed genealogists by getting them to subscribe to a site that simply linked to other websites.

    Beware of websites that charge fees to access links or pieces of information that are freely available elsewhere on the Internet. These sites often make people pay twice to access the record they are looking for. A fooled consumer may pay the fraudulent website and then pay separate subscription fees to the legitimate websites that provide the real value.

    The best way to avoid such frauds is to make sure you know what you are paying for and can try the website before you are billed for the service. Another way to protect yourself is to ask fellow researchers if they have used the site and what their experience has been. You may also want to look for a means of contacting the site's owner or administrator. Fraudulent websites seldom provide any means of contact.

    The rise of fraudulent websites is one reason OneGreatFamily allows new guests to take advantage of a 7-day free trial. Registered guests who have taken time to become familiar with OneGreatFamily understand what they are paying for when they decide to subscribe to the service.

    Malicious Scams

    While phony websites are one form of genealogy scam, some scams are even more malicious. Ebay and other online services have recently warned customers against submitting personal information, such as account logins, billing information, and social security numbers, though email forms. Some crooks can get people to provide all the information they need for financial gain through an official-looking email message.

    Always make sure you are on a company's official website before making a transaction or providing login information. Never provide information, such as billing information or a social security number, without a clear understanding of why the information is required and how the information will be used. Also, take the time to read and understand the terms and conditions of any offer you receive.

    Other malicious scams are designed to get access to your bank account. The perpetrator of such a scam will often say they have money they want to deposit into your account. The reason for the deposit may be an inheritance check or a transfer from a foreign account where the person claims to be in distress or a "political prisoner." They will ask for your bank account information to make their deposits; however, instead of depositing funds, they empty the account.

    Fraudulent Genealogy Information

    The first two forms of fraud are malicious and motivated by greed. The perpetuation of fraudulent genealogy information, on the other hand, is typically more benign. The root of this fraud, however, typically stems from the same greed.

    Much of the false genealogical information that has been published is also the result of greed. Several incidents of this sort of fraud have been documented as being done by hired researchers who wanted to embellish the research they were providing. Other false information has been perpetuated by researchers who have tried to "prove" relationships with little supporting evidence. In many cases, when a well-meaning researcher is given a choice between two possible alternatives, the more convenient or glamorous alternative is chosen without first looking for more evidence.

    Several of these genealogies were "created" by Gustave Anjou, who repeatedly ensured his clients had genealogies that included several high-profile ancestors.

    Unfortunately, much of this "research" has found its way into the databases of sincere researchers who were happy to quickly claim these high-profile (albeit false) ancestors as their own.

    This information has also made its way online. In most cases, this information has been shared and promulgated unknowingly. The only way to identify and correct the result of this fraud is by carefully examining and documenting each piece of evidence.

    Even in cases where sources are given, you may need to consult with the original source to verify that information is correct.

    OneGreatFamily can help. OneGreatFamily lets you see alternatives for information in your family tree and collaborate with people who can help identify false information that may have crept into your tree. You can also share your discoveries and documentation with others to correct false information they may have unwittingly accepted from another source.

    Visit OneGreatFamily and verify information in your family tree

     One Great Genealogy Site Award is a site that attempts to encourage others - from novice to pro - in their quest for roots. Here you'll find grants for genealogical initiatives, guidance for your search, and inspiration for those times when you could use a little dose! This site was developed to help at least a few more people connect - be it with scattered kin, family treasures or long-departed ancestors. So go to today, and spend a few minutes exploring!

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